Cam­phausen re­flects on school board ten­ure




— Lauren Cam­phausen’s jour­ney with Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools has taken her from CCPS stu­dent to CCPS par­ent and fi­nally, to de­part­ing CCPS board of ed­u­ca­tion mem­ber.

After eight years on the board, Cam­phausen at­tended her last school board meet­ing as a board mem­ber on Mon­day night. Hav­ing served for two terms, in­clud­ing three years as board pres­i­dent, Cam­phausen wasn’t el­i­gi­ble to run again and her District 2 seat will be taken over by Jim Fazz­ino, who won an un­con­tested race for the seat ear­lier this month.

Change was a con­stant for Cam­phausen dur­ing her time on the board, hav­ing first joined in 2008, right when the na­tional fi­nan­cial cri­sis was start­ing, lead­ing to some tough bud­get times for the school sys­tem. Dur­ing her ten­ure on the board, she also saw many dif­fer­ent cur­ricu­lum im­ple­men­ta­tions and the com­ple­tion of sev­eral con­struc­tion projects.

But through­out, Cam­phausen said she’s been priv­i­leged to get an up-close look on ev­ery­thing that goes on at CCPS.

“Ed­u­ca­tion is in­cred­i­bly com­plex and re­quires a sig­nif­i­cant amount of ex­per­tise. Yet, the pro­fes­sional in­di­vid­u­als who do it on a daily ba­sis make it look so sim­ple and easy,” she said after Mon­day’s meet­ing. “And so that leads us all to have pretty sim­ple opin­ions about all the things that go on in the school sys­tem. And it’s re­ally been a priv­i­lege for me to learn the ins-and-outs of build­ing and main­tain­ing a suc­cess­ful school sys­tem.”

Though her time on the board saw the com­ple­tion of sev­eral con­struc­tion projects, Cam­phausen counts the open­ing of the Ce­cil County School of Tech­nol­ogy as one of the most “tan­gi­ble high­lights” of her ten­ure.

There were many times when it looked like school would never open, so fi­nally see­ing stu­dents en­ter its doors in Au­gust 2015 was es­pe­cially re­ward­ing, she said.

Cam­phausen’s time on the board has also co­in­cided with what she de­scribes as a “re-awak­en­ing of com­mu­nity ad­vo­cacy” as more peo­ple have be­gun speak­ing up for the schools and their needs, she said.

“It’s not that peo­ple haven’t al­ways been out­spo­ken and in­volved in the sys­tem, but I think there’s a real kind of col­lec­tive en­ergy around that now,” she said.

It’s that col­lec­tive en­ergy Cam­phausen hopes to har­ness as she moves into a new role with CCPS. Start­ing in Jan­uary, Cam­phausen will lead an ef­fort to start up a coun­ty­wide par­ent ad­vi­sory coun­cil. Board pol­icy states that the board should have an ad­vi­sory coun­cil, though the board has gone back and forth on what that group should look like.

Though it’s still early in the plan­ning stages, Cam­phausen em­pha­sized that the coun­cil wouldn’t be just for ad­vo­cacy, but it would also give par­ents a chance to un­der­stand the in­ner work­ings of CCPS, in­clud­ing more com­plex top­ics such as Com­mon Core and the A/B block sched­ule.

But as she looks to the fu­ture, Cam­phausen is con­fi­dent her seat is in good hands. Cam­phausen said she was im­pressed with the way Fazz­ino ran his cam­paign, not­ing he spent most of his time learn­ing about the schools’ needs in­stead of pol­i­tick­ing.

“I can’t re­ally give him any ad­vice,” she said. “I would say just for him to con­tinue mov­ing in the di­rec­tion he’s al­ready started in and I think he’s go­ing to do great things.”

But though her time on the board has come to an end, Cam­phausen said it’s been an honor to see the “daily ded­i­ca­tion” of CCPS em­ploy­ees and she’s con­fi­dent those re­la­tion­ships will con­tinue as she moves into the next stage of her jour­ney with CCPS.

“Know­ing I’m send­ing my kids off to a sys­tem that just, across the board, peo­ple are so ded­i­cated and care so much for the safety and well­be­ing of our stu­dents,” she said. “It’s been a bless­ing that not many, par­ents es­pe­cially, get to have. I will al­ways cher­ish that.”


Lauren Cam­phausen, cen­ter, poses with school board pres­i­dent Dawn Branch, left, and Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine after her fi­nal meet­ing as a school board mem­ber.

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